How to Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper

Three Methods:Fixing the Zipper ManuallyCleaning the ZipperTrying Lubricants

A zipper that won't zip up is frustrating, but it doesn't have to be the end of the zipper or the garment. You have plenty of options when it comes to loosening a hard to close zipper. You can try a few manual options, as well as cleaning the zipper. You can also try various lubricants, many of which you likely have around your house already.

Method 1
Fixing the Zipper Manually

  1. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 1
    Coax the zipper. Even if the zipper is structurally sound, sometimes some coaxing is needed. Gently unzipping the zipper further and then trying to zip it back up will sometimes solve the issue, especially if the zipper just caught on something.
  2. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 2
    Pinch below the zipper. This step is common, so you may have already tried it. If you haven't, try pinching the fabric below the zipper to squeeze the garment into its zipped position.[1] Do this while gently coaxing the slider of the zipper upwards. This step can help if the issue is caused by the teeth trying to pull away from each other.
  3. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 3
    Pinch above the zipper. Another common tactic that you can try is pinching above the zipper.[2] This tactic helps gather teeth together when they're having a hard time catching, and it can help in cases where the zipper is having trouble because your tailored slim-fit trousers or flirty cocktail dress are a little too tight.
  4. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 4
    Look for anything in the way. If the zipper is still sluggish, closely examine the zipper. Make sure there isn't anything like thread or hair stuck in it. If something is in the way, pull it out to see if that fixes the problem, as it can keep your zipper from closing easily.[3]
    • You may need to move the zipper back and forth as you try to pull the thread or hair out of the zipper.
  5. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 5
    Check the teeth. One of the most common problem areas for a zipper is actually the teeth. Over time, the teeth can get bent out of alignment. Look to see if all of your zipper's teeth are straight and in line. If they're not, you can use pliers to pull them back into place. Just don't be too rough, as you can pull the teeth off.[4]
  6. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 6
    Replace the zipper. Another option is to just replace the zipper completely. You can do it yourself at home, or you can take to to a tailor's to be replaced. Most sewing stores sell zippers you can use to replace the one you have. However, having a professional do it will be easier, and it doesn't cost too much.[5]

Method 2
Cleaning the Zipper

  1. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 7
    Check for rust. Sometimes, rust can form on the inside of a zipper or on a zipper's teeth. This problem can happen more often with cold-weather outdoor garments. If rust is present, use a household anti-rust lubricant like WD-40. Just be careful not to get it on the fabric of the garment.
  2. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 8
    Apply vinegar. The issue could be caused by tiny pieces of debris getting in the zipper. That debris can cause the zipper to not zip as easily. Applying vinegar can help take care of the problem by cleaning it out, allowing it to zip more readily.
    • Soak a cotton ball with vinegar. With the garment flat, run the cotton ball up and down the zipper. Make sure not to get it on the fabric if you think it may bleed.
    • Apply it to both sides of the zipper, as well as the inside of the teeth.
  3. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 9
    Try dish detergent. Dish detergent can be used to clean out your zippers. However, be sure to test the detergent on an inconspicuous place first. If it doesn't affect the color of the garment, scrub the detergent into the zipper, using a brush. Wash it out, and see if it helps your zipper be less sluggish.[6]

Method 3
Trying Lubricants

  1. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 10
    Try a bar a soap. One simple solution for a zipper that's hard to close is a bar of soap. It doesn't really matter what kind you use. Anything you have on hand is fine. Rub the soap on the teeth of the zipper with the zipper open. Once you've rubbed some in, zip it up and down to get it lubricated well.[7]
    • The soap will help the slider move up and down more easily on the zipper.
    • Another easy option is petroleum jelly.
    • You can also use a bit olive oil, but be careful, as it could stain your clothes.[8]
  2. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 11
    Use a graphite pencil. Graphite works as a lubricant, making it easier to zip up stubborn zippers. Rub a graphite pencil along the inside of the zipper and the teeth. Make sure to hit all of the zipper, trying to get into the teeth as much as possible, as well as the back of the zipper. Move the zipper up and down a few times to help get the graphite in place.[9]
  3. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 12
    Try powder. Powders can also act as lubricants for zippers. You can use most common household powders, such as talcum powder or baby powder. You can even use cornstarch. Just sprinkle a little on the zipper, and move it up and down to lubricate it.[10]
    • You may need to wash your clothes after using this method, if you're not careful where you sprinkle the powder.
  4. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 13
    Rub the zipper with wax. You can use wax paper, paraffin wax, or even candle or crayon wax. Basically, the wax will lubricate the zipper, making it easier to pull up and down. You'll need to lubricate both sides for this step to work.[11]
    • For the wax paper, tear off a small sheet of wax paper. Make sure it's wax paper, not parchment paper. With the zipper open, rub it on both sides of the zipper. Test to the zipper to see if it helped. If it didn't try it again.
    • For other types of wax, rub the wax onto the zipper with the zipper open. Wipe off any excess wax from the fabric. Blow over it with a really hot hair dryer, making the wax melt and allowing it to penetrate the teeth better. Once it cools, run the zipper back and forth to test it.
  5. Image titled Loosen a Hard to Close Zipper Step 14
    Use window cleaner. One of the most basic and common lubricants is window cleaner. It's also not oil based, meaning it won't harm your clothes. Simply spray a bit on your zipper, then move the slider up and down to lubricate it.[12]

Article Info

Categories: Laundry